Donna man pleads guilty in DVD copyright case

McALLEN — A Donna man pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal copyright charge after he was found in possession with thousands of reproduced DVDs, according to court records.

Tuesday morning, Roel Aurelio Aguilar Alvarez, 26, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal infringement of a copyright before U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa.

Aguilar’s charge comes as a result of an arrest in November of last year when Department of Homeland Security agents executed a search warrant at a residence in Donna in the 1500 block of Colima Street in connection with a federal investigation, according to the complaint filed against him.

On Nov. 17, 2017, HSI agents searched the residence and found more than 2,000 DVDs “that appeared to be counterfeit reproductions,” as well as “six DVD duplicator disc copier towers, several boxes containing blank DVDs, generic DVD sleeves, and other supplies used in the reproduction of the counterfeit movie DVDs,” the complaint states.

Aguilar, who was at the residence when it was searched, agreed to questioning from authorities, during which he admitted he knew it was illegal to copy movies and sell them.

Aguilar went on to tell agents that he made about 400 DVDs a week and would sell them at a flea market in Donna on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for about $1 each. He told agents he sold about 300 DVDs a day, the complaint states.

Aguilar said just the day before he had made 300 DVD copies.

“ Upon inspecting the DVDs, it was apparent that they were not commercial discs based on their packaging but instead counterfeit movie DVDs,” the complaint states. “The packaging of the DVDs consisted of generic DVD sleeves and the movie titles were handwritten on the DVDs.”

Some of the counterfeit DVD titles included Cars 3, 50 Shades Darker, All Eyes on Me, and American Made, to name a few, court records show.

Agents estimated the total retail value of a sampling of the seized DVDs was more than $4,800, the court record shows.

Aguilar is scheduled back in court for his sentencing Aug. 13, where he could face more than a year in prison, court notes show.